Objectives: Estimates the prevalence of animal abuse in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia, and Lviv, Ukraine, assesses the sociodemographic characteristics of animal abusers in these cities, and provides the first empirical test of Agnew’s (Theor Criminol 2(2):177–209, 1998) theory of the causes of animal abuse. Methods: Logistic regression and generalized structural equation models are estimated using interview data from 1435 randomly-sampled adults in 41 neighborhoods in Lviv and Nizhni Novgorod. Results: Animal abuse was quite rare among respondents and committed mostly by males and younger individuals. Consistent with Agnew’s theory, low self-control, animal-abusing peers, justifying beliefs, and perceived benefits all were associated with statistically significantly increased likelihood of animal abuse. In addition, justifying beliefs and perceived benefits mediated a significant and substantial share of the effects of self-control and animal-abusing peers on animal abuse. Contrary to theoretical expectations, perceived costs appeared unrelated to animal abuse net of the effects of other predictors. Conclusions: People who abuse animals appear to do so partly because, due to low self-control and exposure to animal-abusing peers, they hold beliefs justifying the behavior and perceive greater benefits associated with it.
- Animal abuse
- Criminological theory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine